Century-Old Four-Diamond Resort on Private Mountain Lake
In the late 19th century, a wealthy entrepreneur named E.H. Jennings wanted to turn a remote patch of western North Carolina wilderness into a resort area. The area lacked paved roads, but Jennings nonetheless filled a mile-wide gulch with water to create Lake Toxaway, the region's first manmade lake. Soon, magnates such as Henry Ford and Thomas Edison were visiting the area, drawn by the mountain air. In a building dating back to 1910, The Greystone Inn welcomes guests to this area with luxurious accommodations. It earned a spot on Condé Nast Traveler's 2011 Top Small Resorts in the United States list and has been named a AAA Four Diamond hotel every year since 1985.
The property's centerpiece is the Greystone Mansion, built in 1915 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. No two guest rooms are exactly the same, but many have distinctive period-style furniture and hardwood floors.
At Lake Toxaway, a boathouse rents out canoes and kayaks to guests at no extra charge. You can find a secluded spot to walk, fish, or read amid 14 miles of shoreline. There are also daily tours of the lake on The Greystone's 26-passenger mahogany boat, Miss Lucy. Each cruise includes a champagne toast and historical commentary from the captain.
The Blue Ridge Mountains foothills serve as the backdrop for the resort's 18-hole, Kris Spence–designed golf course. It was named one of the Carolinas’ top resort courses by Links magazine. Before teeing off, head to the Lakeside Dining Room for a breakfast of eggs benedict or belgian waffles. Each night, the restaurant serves six-course dinners in an upscale space (check the dress code before arriving). For a more causal dinner on Monday and Thursday–Saturday, visit the Lake Toxaway Country Club for bistro food.
Transylvania County, North Carolina: Land of Waterfalls and Mountain Hamlets
Transylvania County, which contains Lake Toxaway and the slightly larger town of Brevard, is known regionally as the "Land of Waterfalls" for the hundreds of scenic cascades dotting its forests. Gorges State Park and Nantahala National Forest are lined with countless hiking and biking trails, and local guides lead horseback tours and fishing trips. About 20 miles northwest of The Greystone Inn is the mountain town of Brevard, which has a relaxed, outdoorsy vibe.